Find out how to communicate with children in an inclusive way!

Welcome to Together’s blog showcasing a promising practice example of how the Young Disabled People’s Forum uses inclusive communication techniques to enable children to be involved in decisions.

We hope you take inspiration from this example of inclusive communication. If you’d like to read more examples you can read them in Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights Report here!

Young Disabled People’s Forum – Creating real and effective change through inclusive communication

Disabled children are less likely to think that adults take their views into account when making decisions that affect them compared to non-disabled children (45% compared to 58%). This can prevent them from taking a central role in decisions about their life and can result in poorer outcomes.

The Young Disabled People’s Forum advises Scottish Government on issues relevant to the development and implementation of policies that impact disabled children, young people and their families.

an adult signing to a child, speech marks with different translations of 'hi!' and a girl reading using braille

The Forum is made up of 60 young people who are supported by third sector organisations. Depending on the support the young person requires, they have access to British Sign Language signers and note-takers, support persons and on most occasions, a Pamiloo. Presentations are kept brief and accessible to ensure the young people have time to suggest possible solutions that can influence real change and improve their lives. 

To date, the forum has worked with Transport Scotland, Education Scotland, Student Awards, Autism and Learning Disability team, GIRFEC and Disabled Young Workforce.

A feedback loop has been developed to ensure the Forum actively understand and are aware of how their voices have been used in the development and implementation of different policies. 

An example of how influential the Forum has been shown via their work with Transport Scotland. For some young people, trains can be more complicated and expensive. Some felt the gap between the train and the platform was frightening. They also didn’t think you should have to book 24 hours in advance just because you have access requirements. They felt you should be able to just turn up and get on the train like everyone else.

The time required for a disabled person to request passenger assistance when travelling by rail in advance was reduced to two hours on 1st April 2019 and has further been reduced to one hour on some routes across Scotland. 

The Forum created real change and effectively empowered disabled children and young people to take a central role in decisions that impact their lives. 

This blog is part of Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights report blog series. You can find out more about our 2022 report here!

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